“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Leave behind all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.” - Glenn Clark
For those of you that know me, you will not be surprised to find out that my packing process has been a very analytical one, feel free to laugh at and/or mock me! For those of you that are just getting to know me, please try to humor my over-organization, but you can also feel free to laugh at or mock me accordingly…
The general methodology is to pack everything I want, try like crazy to fit it all in, then start to take things out that are of less importance when I fail to make it all fit… Packing for a trip when you don’t know what to expect and where you will end up has some unique challenges. First, knowing that I am going to be hauling everything on my back says that I want it to be light. But knowing the size constraints of only taking a carry on bag, it is very tempting to remove all packages and buy the smallest things possible. But if you buy the smallest things possible, you can fit more things in the bag and it will ultimately weigh more. My ideal goal is to get my bag packed with under 22 lbs (10kg). Why that weight? Because some small airlines have a 10kg limit for carry on bags. It is at this point that I begin to doubt my abilities…
I tend to lean more towards the “boyscout preparedness” philosophy rather than the “minimalist” approach taken by many people who subscribe to the Onebag.com methods.
The bag I am taking is the MEI Voyageur (http://www.meivoyageur.com/). It is 3000 cubic inches and is about carry-on size. It has hide-able backpack straps so it can look more like a traditional suitcase. I ordered mine in “Ninja Gray”. It looks more like greenish gray, but since I have a Ninja fascination, I will still be pretending that no one can see me when I am wearing it. They are custom made, so make sure you order one far in advance. I just recently heard a story about a girl that wanted a cuter color than what they offered on the website and they made her a cute purple one! It doesn’t hurt to call or email them if you have a special request since it will be custom made!
I am using packing cubes to keep things in “packs” of related items. While the cubes add a little extra weight, the convenience is worth it and it allows me to indulge my organization addiction.
The things I have packed are based on a lot of information from the www.onebag.com website. He goes into depth on the why behind some of these items.
Here is a list of the packs and what is in each one:
From left to right
- Howsarlock door lock. Works on any door and provides a bit of extra security. It ships from the UK, so be sure to order it in advance as well!
- Safety whistle with compass, mirror, and magnifying glass
- Extra batteries for my headlamp
- Air Core Pillow
- Silk Sleep Sack
From left to right:
- Sarong for after shower
- Ultra absorbent towel. Its small, light, and quick drying. Great for drying yourself, not so great for coverage, hence the sarong!
- Cosmetics (2 powder compacts, 3 lip balms, solid foundation by Shishedo)
- Venus razor with head stored in Steripod (mostly so I don’t cut myself if I reach in the bag)
- Nail clippers
- Extra razor heads
- The yellow disks are LUSH brand solid shampoos (www.lush.com), the lower one is in a lush tin. I can’t say enough about them, they lather great, pack nicely, and smell like heaven!! I have really fine hair that tends to be frizzy, but I can get away without using conditioner with this stuff! They make a solid conditioner, but it didn’t do much for me.
- The lower blue disk is just soap in another lush tin.
- Toothbrush with Steripod cover
- Dental floss
- Powdered toothpaste
- Collapsible hairbrush with mirror
- Bee bar solid lotion
From left to right:
- Mini sewing kit
- Mini multitool (a little redundant, but I am afraid the multitool might be taken because of the blade in it.)
- Inflatable hangers for laundry
- Wet Ones antibacterial wipes (I just stuffed the individually wrapped packs where ever there was space)
- Collapsible water bottle
- Pre-filter for the Steripen
- 3 packs of wet ones wipes
- Collapsible cup
- Spork! Yay!
- Empty squirt bottle
- Laundry pack (sheets of laundry soap, caribiners, rubber clothes line, sink stopper
- Mending kit in waterproof container (needles, mini screwdriver, nylon thread, large safety pins and gaffers tape wrapped around the container)
- Steripen original
- Parachute cord bracelet
- International Translator
- Packs of Kleenex (I intend to refill these with TP when I have access to it and put them in my purse)
Medications are specific to each person, so yours may not look like mine. This is not intended to be medical advice on what to bring. I am lucky enough to have an amazing and supportive healthcare provider. I don’t have any major health issues so all of these drugs are “just in case”. If you have regular medication, you will have to make room. Be sure to carry your prescription copies with you and do your research on what you can and can’t bring to different countries. I found out that Sudaphed is illegal in Japan, so I am not bringing any. You can’t assume that just because it’s okay where you are from, doesn’t mean it’s okay where you are going!
My healthcare provider and I talked through what I should bring and this is what we decided was best for ME, but your list probably will be different:
- Antifungal Diflucan
- Doxycycline for Malaria
- 2 Z-packs for Cough/Lung/Skin issues
- Ciprofloxacin for GI/Kidney/UTI issues
- Omnicef for skin or sinus issues
- Syringes and needles (get a written prescription for these too)
- Ibuprofen 800
- Pepto Bismol chewables
- Loperamide HCL anti-diarheal
- Alcohol prep swabs for injections
- Water purification tabs
- Drip Drop Oral Rehydration Powder
- Assorted bandages
- Blister pads
- Ear plugs
- Tooth repair cement
- Sunscreen (SPF50)
- 11” Macbook Air Laptop & Charger cable
- Apple iPod Touch (with Line2 app, so it’s a wifi phone!) and charging cable (actually a kindle charger with an ipod cable)
- Canon Powershot ELPH 300 HS Camera, Charger, 16 & 32 G memory cards & USB Card reader
- Amazon Kindle Keyboard with wifi with international free 3G and charging cable This particular model is important because it is the only one that has the experimental browser that can be used with the free international 3G.
- Bluetooth headset to use with wifi phone feature
Misc (not in a pack)
- Outlet adapter & converter with a 3 plug expander
This is another area where you need to decide your personal style and what you are willing to live without. I am by no means a fashionista when I travel. I try to keep it basic, but have choices. I am treating my trip in two main stages: Winter and everything else. I live in a cold climate, but don’t particularly enjoy being cold when I am trying to walk around and see the sights. The first month of my trip is going to be spent in Korea and Japan in Winter (Jan 10th-25th in Korea and Jan 25th through Feb 9th in Japan) so I am bringing a supplemental bag of clothes for that portion of the trip. I will be in warm climates from Feb 9th through at least the end of April, so the first list is what I am planning on having with me for the entirety of the trip:
Every item of clothing in my main pack is made of quick-drying fabrics, several with insect repellant and/or SPF protection. Many are Exofficio or Columbia brands. They are packed using the bundle method, and put into two packing cubes – one with pants and one with tops. The sandals are free in the bag (with their own bag) and the shoes will be worn.
- 4 tank tops (1 white, 2 black, and 1 patterned green and blue one that will also serve as my night shirt)
- 3 T-shirts (beige, blue, and black)
- 2 button up camp shirts (blue & green)
- 1 Long sleeve T shirt (beige)
- 1 Long Sleeve button up shirt (blue/pink gingham)
- 1 lightweight fleece jacket (black)
- 3 pairs of pants (blue, beige, and khaki)
- 2 pairs of Capris (beige & black)
- 6 pairs of socks
- 4 pairs of underwear
- 3 bras
- Keen Toyah shoes
- Keen sandals
Supplemental (Cold Weather) Pack:
- Silk thermal bottoms
- 2 Pairs of lightweight jeans
- 3 long sleeve T-shirts
- Warm windproof fleece jacket
- Warm socks
- Light sweatpants for sleeping
I am sure there are some items that will not make the final cut, but this is the current list. If you have any suggestions on anything I am forgetting, let me know! Once I get it all packed, I will post more pictures!